I have spent two of the past six weeks in Austin, Texas (if you’re new, you can read why here). I am far from being an expert on the city, but here’s what I can tell you: it is full of life. Whether you’re in to outdoor activities, drinking, thrifting, sports, live music, art or style, I’m fairly certain you’d be able to find something that tickles your fancy in Austin. It is just one of those cities that everyone is bound to love (and I don’t say that lightly).
Since I have only spent about 14 days total in the live music capital of the world, I have barely scratched the surface of things to do. I mean, how do you do all there is to do, eat all there is to eat and see all there is to see without gaining 30 pounds and getting the silent treatment from your bank account? Answer: you can’t.
So, while I guarantee I am missing out on some really cool places, I have rounded up some of my favorite spots thus far in ATX (in no particular order).
VooDoo Doughnuts — These doughnuts are kind of insane, but I suppose you have to try them once, even if it’s only to say you did. They’re open 24/7, in the midst of 6th Street, so go crazy!
Unbarlievable — This is one of my absolute favorite bars in Austin. UnBARlievable, on Rainey Street, is an eclectic, circus-inspired bar. The live music is on point, the front and back patios are super cute, and there is a slide that takes you from the top level down to the grass out back. It’s all just so over-the-top and awesome.
The Oasis — The Oasis, also known as the sunset capital of Texas, is a must. There’s music, there’s dining, there’s hundreds of tables and umbrellas on the outdoor terrace, and there’s a brewery. This place overlooks a good chunk of Lake Travis, and it’s pretty spectacular if you’re looking for after-dinner cocktails.
Chuy’s — Oh. My. GOD. The queso at Chuy’s is out of this freakin’ world, and the food ain’t bad either. There are a few locations around Austin, so definitely go and definitely order the queso. I also highly recommend the New Mexican marg, the tequila is infused with chiles and it packs a serious punch.
Via 313 — I swear, this is the best pizza in all the land. They have a food truck permanently parked in the back of Craft Pride’s bar on Rainey Street, so you can grab a beer while you wait for your pizza. It typically takes 30-45 minutes, because it’s made fresh to order, but it’s totally worth the wait. My only complaint is that they don’t have ranch (say what?!).
Café No Sé — OK. Is it normal to be obsessed with a café? This place is so cute (like SO cute). We went for brunch on Sunday, and all of their bottles of rosé were 50% off, so that obviously only made me love it even more. It’s located in the South Congress Hotel, which has a cool, hipster, boho vibe and the best bloody Mary ever, so just go.
Ranch 616 — We stumbled across this restaurant on accident, but I am so glad we did. I think this is probably the best food I’ve had in Austin to date, but the drinks are even better. Their infamous drink is the Ranch Water, and it totally gets the job done. I also recommend getting a fire in the hole shot, served in a jalapeño, because why not? Bravo, Ranch 616, five stars all around.
Bungalow — Bungalow is a little fratty, but fun nonetheless. It might be a good option, on Rainey Street, for a birthday party or bachelorette bash. If you go, snap a pic in front of the Insta-worthy ‘I hate you so much’ wall and tag me.
Punch Bowl Social — If you’re looking for an adult, hipster version of Chuck E. Cheese, Punch Bowl is your place. This joint has a bowling alley, life-size scrabble boards, darts, karaoke rooms, skee ball and air hockey all inside the bar— but not in a tacky way. Date night approved!
Hula Hut — Hula Hut is a little slice of paradise, without being by the ocean. The Tex-Mex restaurant and bar overlooks Lake Austin, and is tropical AF. The food is mediocre, but it literally feels like you’re in Hawaii, so you’re really winning regardless.
Flower Child — I was thrilled to find out that ATX has a Flower Child, because that’s like a blogger’s right of passage in LA. They don’t have queso, but it’s vegetarian friendly, and their menu is jam-packed with all of the healthiest, yummiest dishes— because apparently eating Mexican food every day is frowned upon. Kale yeah!
Culinary Dropout — This place is just good in every sense of the word. It’s yummy, the drinks are satisfying and the atmosphere is a pleasant mix of happy hour and family oriented. There’s just a little bit of something for everyone (like corn hole for him and queso for me), and I’m all about that.
Barton Springs — There may not be an ocean in Austin, but you bet your ass I found some water. Barton Springs is a public, natural spring turned three-acre swimming pool with a grassy hill for lounging, rocks to hang on and a diving board. I kind of love this spot.
If there are any Texans reading this, drop me a line of your absolute favorite places— I want to do and see it all.
See ya soon, Austin.